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“Don’t go.”

She mumbles the words into the curve of his throat as soon as he begins shifting under the sheets, in that fuzzy tone of voice he’s only ever heard from her when she’s not fully awake.

He sighs, but immediately stops moving. “Rey.”

“Please.”

“I have to get up.”

The arm she threw around his neck sometime during the night tightens a little. “Please. I’m cold.”

Of course, she’s cold. She’s always cold. Why the Rebellion decided that whatever regrouping they’re doing should happen on a planet that looks like Hoth’s kriffing carbon copy, Kylo doesn’t know, but if he could have a minute alone with Leia the first thing he’d tell her is that forcing someone who grew up on Jakku on a place like this is a signature Dark Side move.

Needless to say, Kylo is not likely to have a minute alone with Leia any time soon.

“I have four separate briefings scheduled. An inspection. And a meeting with the Council.” The list is matter-of-fact, spoken without any inflection, though he really wants to groan at the thought of it all. And then… then, he just gives up and does what he always, always, does, which is pulling her tighter into his chest.

Somehow, for some equally ironic and tragic reason that is probably only clear to the Force, the last of the Jedi order fits perfectly in the Jedi killer’s arms.

She really, really does.

“Can’t one of your Knights go?”

“They are going.” Since they brief him. Since they are his Council.

“‘kay.” She yawns, her breath a warm chuff on his collarbone. “Then you can stay.”

“Rey.”

“Five more minutes.”

No. No, he doesn’t have five minutes. He should be washing the sleep— and her smell, her cursed, phenomenal smell —off his face, putting his sparring robes on, making his way to the training area downstairs. He can’t be here, in bed, doing nothing with—

“Just until I’m warm, then.”

If this weren’t Rey, he would mention the existence of this new, revolutionary warming technology called ‘blanket’.

Then again, if this weren’t Rey he would probably be able to say no.

He sighs once more, loud enough for Rey to hear him, and arranges her so that he can curve himself around her back, his arm completely looping around her small waist, her loose, thick hair tickling the underside of his chin where her head is tucked. Her backside is rounded and soft and if she only knew the things it makes him want to do to her she’d think twice, hell, a million times before ever asking him to hold her again, so… yeah. Better not to dwell on it.

On any of this.

Not thirty seconds later her breathing evens and she’s asleep again. It’s entirely too long before he tears himself away from her and forces himself to get up and start his day.

 

 

The first time it happens—Rey doesn’t quite shoot at him with a blaster again, but it’s a near thing. Kylo’s eyes are still blinking away the sleep when her staff flies into her hand from… from somewhere —her surroundings, he still can’t see them—and it takes several full, blurry seconds before he realizes what is going on. She’s standing by the side of his— her? —bed, weapon ready to strike, her chest heaving and that look in her eyes.

That one.

He stares back at her. His saber rattles a few inches from his hand—he could call it to himself with a thought, activate it, and slice her staff in two, and then, then maybe even move on to slice her, all in a day’s work. Of course, he has neither the energy nor the inclination to do so. Yet. It’s been months, since the battle of Crait. Since he asked her… And she said—

Kylo has had time to calm down. Some.

And she, she is no Luke. She is not going to try kill him. Not like this, at least.

“Rey.” He wipes his hand down his face, trying to jerk his brain awake. He’s exhausted. She, on the other hand, looks fairly well-rested. Wherever she and the Rebellion are, it’s probably not the middle of the night. “Good morning.”

“It’s that—that thing again.”

“That thing?”

“That… That Force thing. Between us.”

There is still tension in her voice, but her shoulders are relaxing, the arm holding her staff coming to rest to her side. She doesn’t take her eyes off him, which—well. It’s not every night that he wears pants and underwear to bed, so she should probably consider herself lucky with the current state of affairs. The way she is studying him, though—there is a shade of eagerness in her eyes.

It feels like so long, that they haven’t seen each other.

“I assume.” His voice is still scratchy from sleep.

“I thought…” She closes her eyes, and he can feel the way the Force shifts in response to her reaching out around herself, clumsily palpating the energy between them. “I have read up on it. Been trying to block it.”

Ah. He had wondered.

“Hard to block a Force bond, when you’re asleep,” he points out. Perhaps a little too drily, but he has slept maybe four hours in the past week, and he can barely drag his eyelids upward. Which might actually be for the best, since she is only wearing a shirt, the hem barely skimming the top of her thighs. Whenever she moves, whenever she shifts, whenever she breaths, a mole almost hidden within the inner part of her legs becomes visible. As soon as he notices he wishes he hadn’t, and doesn’t let himself look up again.

“Well, make it stop,” Rey orders him. Which makes him want to laugh—and Kylo never, ever wants to laugh.

Here is the last of the mighty order of the Jedi, standing in front of him and knowing—nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing.

“Yeah, okay. Goodnight.”

“Please.”

This kriffing girl.

“Rey.” He presses his fingers into his eye sockets, trying to stave the huge headache he can feel swelling in his skull. “You’ll find that the Force might deign to listen to our suggestions every once in a while, but in the end it does whatever it wants.”

He throws an arm over his eyes to block the starlight filtering from the viewport, and forces his mind away from creamy skin and back to sleep.

 

 

The second time, neither of them is overly surprised.

“Is this a thing?” Rey yawns and rubs the heel of her hand into her eye. “That is going to happen all the time?“

“Apparently.” Kylo gives her his back and finishes buttoning his pants. Either her sleep cycles are completely disorganized, or the Rebellion must have switched hiding places, because she was sound asleep when he woke up, her lashes fluttering with some kind of deep dreaming he forced himself not to peek at through this bond of theirs.

He most definitely did not stare at her for a full five minutes.

“Because… the Force?”

He nods. As good an explanation as he could offer, probably.

There is a charming little sound behind his back—Rey either yawning or sighing.

“There must be a way I can exploit this.”

“Mmm?”

“Like... I don’t know. Stab you in your sleep.”

He snorts. “You Jedi are way too noble for that.”

“There is that,” she acknowledges. “But you can be so stabbable, sometimes.”

He turns to pin her with a look, and—her long legs are moving under the sheets, her back tensing and arching in a way—a way Kylo pointedly does not notice.

“Let us not forget that I’m the only one with a functioning saber, here.”

“Right. Why aren’t you trying to kill me?”

It’s a perfectly legitimate question.

One he’s been asking himself for quite some time in the months since his partial defeat on Crait. Never coming to an convincing answer, either, or at least one argument cogent enough that could fully persuade his Knights, when Kylo made the case to the Council that the Rebellion should not be pursued further, and be left alone to rot in the worst recesses of the Outer Rim. Or wherever it is that they holed up.

Because I don’t want to, though, doesn’t seem like something he should admit to, so he settles for, “Too much work.”

“It sure didn’t look like it last time I saw you.”

He finishes buttoning his shirt.

“Last time you saw mewe fought side by side.” It’s been a while, and yet it’s still faintly unpleasant, dwelling on what happened in front of Snoke’s lifeless body.

What happened after.

“Not— after that. When you tried to take down my ship.”

It takes him a moment to piece her words together, and when he does he feels something freeze in his spine—something icy that tightens his stomach and has his hand stop in the process of pulling his sheets back up to his pillow, something that pitches his voice low.

“You were on the Falcon?”

“Of course.”

Of course.

“I…” Of course. Kylo should have known, but he...“I didn’t know.”

She turns on her side towards him, and tucks her head in the pillow, her hands coming to rest in front of her face.

“Would it have changed something?” There is a shade of curiosity in her voice.

His answer takes a long time to come—so long that by the time he is ready to speak she’s already asleep.

 

 

The third time—it’s already a habit.

“I wasn’t even asleep yet,” Rey whines, not even bothering to open her eyes. Her nose is scrunched in displeasure.

Her freckles, he thinks. Her freckles.

“Me, neither.”

They are… distracting.

“Why always at night?”

Kylo shrugs, even though she can’t see him.

“Because that’s when we are too tired to stop it.” She presses her face in her pillow and yawns, and he—If this forced connection that neither of them wants cannot be prevented, the very least Kylo can do is not stare at her. At the way her skin looks. It’s just a bunch of dots over her cheeks and the bridge of her nose, anyway. “I think.”

Her eyelids flutter open. Kylo is probably seeing things, but there might be a hint of amusement in them. In the curl of the corner of her lips. Maybe.

“Well. I hope you don’t snore, prince of darkness.”

She turns around, and a few seconds later her breathing becomes even. For how long he continues to study the rise and fall of her shoulder blades through her thin shirt, he doesn’t know.

 

 

Time-tracking devices are nothing but crutches. Crutches that a Master of Ren in complete communion with the Force should never, ever need to rely upon. As everything, time can be sensed and manipulated, it can be broken into pieces and torn apart and put together again. Time is ruled by users of the Force, and not, not ever vice ver—

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

“I will shoot that fucking thing WITH A BLASTER!”

Ironically, it’s Kylo’s voice that finally wakes Rey up. She rolls over and scrambles to disable the alarm—knocking over at least five things on her bedside stand from the sound of it. When the hideous sound has quieted she immediately flops onto her back, his mattress dipping under her slight weight like it always does, even though she’s somewhere on the other side of the galaxy.

“Sorry. I’m—” a large yawn, “—sorry.”

She rubs her eyes with the heels of her hands, stretching and arching her back in way he—he does not pay attention to. Why Rey has elected to build an alarm clock—out of what looks like spare droid parts and adhesive tape—Kylo has no idea.

The sounds it produces are…

“It rang for two minutes,” he mutters.

“I said, sorry.”

“Who sleeps through that ?”

“Apparently not you—”

Beep. Beep. Beep. Bee—

“REY!”

“Sorry—Sorry—” She fumbles with the alarm with no effect. It keeps chiming at them for— hours, it feels like hours—until she pulls one of the components out and finally, finally —blessed silence.

His head is pounding with a dull, pulsating pain.

“Sorry. I think I accidentally hit the snooze button. I might have to modify this thing a bit—”

“No! Get rid of it. Immediately.”

She scoffs. “I can’t get rid of it. How am I supposed to wake up—”

“I am going to blow that hunk of junk in a million pieces.”

“You know, I don’t think you can, technically.” The last word is barely understandable through another yawn. “Not how this bond thing works, and all that.”

The back of his head falls onto his pillow. One hour. He’s been asleep for barely an hour. The last thing he remembers from last night is turning to his side to face her, and becoming entranced by the way one strand of her hair had escaped her bun. It had felt a little like meditating. Staring at how that lone curl rose and fell in time with her light breathing had relaxed him more than he could remember in years.

And then, the kriffing alarm clock.

“I swear on the Force, I am going to launch a search mission. I will scour the Western Reaches and the Outer Rim and find you wherever it is that you’re hiding out and destroy that stupid piece of —”

She leans forward and covers his mouth with her fingers. It shuts him up, just the pure shock of it.

“Fine, fine! I promise I’ll fix it. Make it less loud, or something.” It must occur to Rey then that she is touching him—something they have been painstakingly careful to avoid that in past few weeks. She jerks her hand away, as if his mouth is burning her fingers, but—oddly, she stays where she is, propped on her elbow and leaning into him. “Sorry. About waking you up all the time,” she adds sheepishly.

Why is she still so close? Why must she always—

He takes a deep breath.

“It’s fine.”

“What you just said—”

“Goodnight, Rey.”

“—about sending your men. To find us.”

“I am going to sleep.”

“Does it mean that there is no one after us? Right now?”

He closes his eyes tighter. For all the good it does him.

“Ben.”

There is no way he can tell a member of the Resistance— the last damn Jedi —about the inner workings of the Order, or what his Council’s executive decisions are. Supreme Leader or not, his Knights would murder him. Saul would shoot Kylo one of his knowing looks and ask him what his plans with this girl are, anyway, Dal would flip about the security risk, and Ania would remind him that the decision not to pursue the Rebellion is only temporary, and contingent upon several factors.

“Ben. We’re not going to move against the Order anytime soon. Maybe never again. You know we’re millions of parsecs away from the Order, we have very limited resources—we’re not interested in deploying any for offensive maneuvers. We just want to be safe, and—We’re—we’re just trying to regroup. To build a life for ourselves.”

A weakness, Saul told him weeks, months ago, when the scar on his face was still fresh and bleeding. This girl is going to be your weakness. Snoke is not going to like it. Be careful and protect yourself.

“Ben. Please.”

Good that his eyes are still closed. At least all he has to fight is the way his mind presses against hers, the snug fit as the Force pushes them together from across the Galaxy.

Unheard of, a connection like this. And for good reason.

Please.”

He stifles a sigh. Now that Luke is gone, it’s hard to muster the rage that used to come so easily towards the Jedi order and the Rebellion.

Much easier to just hate her stupid alarm clock.

“I’m trying to let go,” he tells her, eyes still closed.

She must have been holding her breath, because a warm chuff hits his cheek and the corner of his lip. There is relief flowing through their bond as her fingers touch his arm, her hand lingering for a moment, tightening on the ball of his shoulder through his shirt, making his breath hitch.

He hopes she doesn’t realize.

“Thank you.”

 

 

It’s a truce of sorts, made of unspoken rules, and her soft scent lingering on his sheets, and the inevitability of both their sleep and this odd, inexplicable link between them.

It’s tentative, but it works.

Neither asks too many questions—about the other’s location, about daily activities, about future plans. The things he has done to his father, the things he would do to her friends if he had a chance, they hang heavy between them, studiously ignored. So does the last time they were in each other’s presence, his words, and then hers, and that blinding bolt of light dissolving what seemed so close into a million fragments. He has never been in a truce—his entire life has entailed fighting in some form or fashion—and he finds himself cautious. Unsure of his steps.

Before, when he had the opportunity, he offered her the two things of value he possesses: the teachings of the Force, and the galaxy. She wanted neither, and Kylo is aware that it’s unlikely to change.

Careful, he warns himself. This can only end poorly.

 

 

“What are you reading?”

Rey’s voice doesn’t quite startle him, but almost. When Kylo checked on her a few minutes earlier she was fast asleep, her chest rising rhythmically as the blue light of his device cast the slopes and angles of her face in shadows.

“It’s early.” Or very late. “Go back to sleep.”

“I think I’m too tired to sleep well.” She turns onto her back in that graceful way of hers that he’s starting to recognize and anticipate, stretching her arms above her head and arching her neck. Kylo pointedly keeps his gaze fixed to his datapad. “I was repairing consoles all day. If I close my eyes all I can see is wires.”

Ah. It does explains why he woke up in the middle of the night from a nightmare in which Hux ripped the navigation console of the Falcon open and used the transmission cable to strangle him. Remarkably unpleasant and a little too disturbing, even for Kylo.

“What are you reading?”

“Nothing. Reports,” he adds after a moment, because he just knows that nothing is not going to fly, not with her.

She turns to face him.

“Liar.”

He lets himself glance at her.

“Excuse me?“

“You were having fun.” Her tone is accusing. “I felt it. Through the thing.”

“Maybe these reports are amusing.”

“Right. Mandalore profits charts for the third quarter are a barrel of laugh, I’m sure.”

He purses his lips. He doesn’t have to tell this… this… this Jedi with whom he apparently has to share a bed every night what he’s reading. Still, somehow the words are out before he can pull them back in.

“It’s a novel,” he admits reluctantly.

“A novel?”

“A novel. Like a story, but longer. And written down—”

Rey punches his bicep with more strength he’d have expected from someone who woke up seconds ago and is still laying on her back.

Hey.”

“Thank you for your supreme condescension, Supreme Leader.”

“You’re welcome.“ The imprints of her knuckles feel warm and tingle a little where her skin touched his. “Can you read?”

She punches him harder. It actually hurts.

“Did you seriously just ask me that?”

“It’s a legitimate quest— ouch.”

Of course I can read!”

He shrugs and massages his arm. “Okay. Glad to hear the Jakku school system hasn’t failed you.”

He doesn’t know much of what happened between his vision of Rey’s parents and the moment he found her on Takodana. A lot of sand and scavenging, he assumes. He could probably find out—their minds seem to be more interlocked than they used to, these days, the flow of images and emotions and stray thoughts heavier than it ever was. He could definitely find out, but if he sank his mind into hers, then she would sink hers into his, and then… yeah.

No.

Still, he can see the hint of a shadow passing through her eyes. He feels a tinge of embarrassment, confusingly mixed with pride, and realizes that it’s flowing for her side of this… this bond. Or whatever it is.

“Yeah, no. I taught myself, actually.” Of course she would. “Anyway. I have Luke’s books,” she blurts out, looking away.

“Luke’s books?”

“The ones… the Jedi texts.”

“Ah.” Those.

“They’re sacred, or something.”

Or something. He’s not sure what to say to that. The idea that Rey will want to continue the traditions of the Jedi, that she’ll be the one thing standing between him and a New Order, that he’ll find himself having to carry the promise he made Luke on Crait, at the peak of his fury… it doesn’t bear thinking about.

“Have you read them?” she asks.

“The Jedi texts?”

“Yes.”

He hesitates. “I have.”

“Well?”

“Well, what?”

“No review?”

“They are utterly engrossing. Especially that part on the best pots to properly brew tea. A must-read, really.”

Kylo is not sure he’s heard her laugh before. No, he thinks. It’s the first time. It sure sounds like a new experience, the way the sound bubbles out of her throat, limpid and clear, and then almost turns into a snort. Charming, his mother would have said, and Kylo is not one to be charmed easily.

“What are you reading? Is it a novel about a young boy who grows up to rudely imply that people who are not from Coruscant cannot possibly be literate?”

He can actually feel his cheeks stretch in a smile. Anyone outside of his Knights would know how unique an occurrence this is. Rey, of course, just continues looking at him, oblivious. “I was born on Chandrila. And it’s about a boy. Looking for a treasure.”

“What is the treasure?”

“I don’t know yet.”

“Why is he looking for it?”

“I’ve only just started the book.” A pause. “He probably has his reasons, though.”

“Right.” Rey falls quiet, and for a moment Kylo thinks that the conversation is over. His eyes scan the datapad, trying to find the spot where he left off before she interrupted him— “I want to read it, too.”

He glances at her, and finds her staring up at him, looking more than a little hopeful. No, he wants to say. He’s not about to read out loud to her as if he were a child—he is leader of this damn galaxy, as useless as the title seem to be in this room and in this bed.

With this girl.

But he is awake. And so is she.

Before he can think better of it, Kylo slides lower so that he’s lying parallel to her, and holds up his arm until the datapad is positioned between the two of them, moving back to the first page of the novel. Rey shifts a couple of inches into him. Not quite touching him, but enough that the heat of her skin can reach him easily.

She smells delicious, a mix of soap and salt with a hint of sweetness. And, as it turns out, she’s a faster reader than he is.

 

 

“I am very disappointed.”

Kylo is still somewhere between sleep and wake, and debates whether Rey’s tone—chiding and amused at the same time—is worth opening his eyes to the too bright light of Coruscant’s dawn. Probably yes, since she’s likely to be smiling at him. Which, of course, means that the wise, self-preserving choice would be to just play dead.

“Mmm?”

“I’m disappointed. In you.”

“In me?”

His stupid, treacherous eyes open of their own volition. She is smiling. Lying on her side just like he is, facing him. Her thigh is so close to his knee that every time she breathes the hem of her tunic brushes against his sleeping pants.

She should… move away, or something. His control is not at its best, in the mornings. She really, really should move away.

”It’s been over two months, and you haven’t been muttering secret First Order codes in your sleep. Not even once.”

He uses the Force to pull on her bun.

“Shut up, sand gremlin.”

Rey smiles wider and sticks her tongue out at him.

 

 

She is… remarkable.

Which Kylo knew, of course, but nonetheless he finds himself a little dumbfounded, and there is little he can do about it but accept it and order his jaw and fists to unclench every few minutes spent in her presence.

At night, she punches the pillows into shape and sits next to him, back against the headboard, and then proceeds to read the most ridiculous passages from the Jedi texts out loud. With running commentary. Kylo finds himself having to turn his head away, hoping against hope that she won’t see him crack a smile.

He finds himself fantasizing about how it would be to have her with him—perhaps in his Council, among his Knights, or in the training arena standing in front of him. She’s as strong as he is, untrained. Seeing her surpass him would be a sight to behold. He catches himself daydreaming about it, when he should be thinking about work, about the Force, about training—

“You’re distracted, lately,” Saul tells him, eyes piercing and a little concerned, as he holds out a hand to Kylo after having won more sparring sessions in the past two weeks than in the previous five years.

Kylo forbids himself from thinking of her and wins the following ten matches, just to make a point. Saul continues looking at him in the exact same way.

The way her fingers move as she attempts to repair her laser sword—quick, methodic, mesmerizingly precise—is something to look at. He initially tries to ignore her—she has no business tampering with his grandfather’s saber—and then to direct her— no, you’re switching the order of the energy modulation circuits —and then just stares sullenly at how she is able to make it activate again while missing not one, not two, but three components that the Jedi order has believed to be essential to saber design for two millennia or so.

He tells himself that he is not proud of her.

“Passable,” he says when Rey is done and beaming up at him—while thinking, ”Beautiful.”

He doesn’t mean the saber.

Careful.

 

 

“That’s not the way you’re supposed to do it.”

“Thank you for your unsolicited advice.”

“Really? You can build a cycling field energizer from scratch but you can’t braid your hair like a normal person?”

“I can braid my hair.” Rey’s fingers clumsily shove a lock inside something that resembles a bird’s nest, and Kylo has to roll his eyes. This is the only person to ever defeat him in combat. His only equal in the force. A beacon of light, risen in response to his never-ending darkness. It’s humbling, really, to see her struggle with a such a menial task. And stammer through pitiful justifications.

“Just, it’s really long right now. As soon as I cut it, it will—”

“Don’t.”

She turns, and it makes him realize that he’s been staring at her nape for—too long, probably. “Mm?”

“Don’t cut it. I like it longer.”

Her eyebrow rises. “Oh, in that case. Of course I won’t cut it. Since your wish is my command. And I live to please you. My Lord.”

Kylo hopes his smile doesn’t show. It would shred his reputation to tatters. “Well. I am the Supreme Leader of the galaxy.”

“Over my dead body,” she mutters.

She doesn’t cut her hair, and he doesn’t mention it again.

 

 

“Have you ever kissed anyone?”

It’s an odd question, but not much odder than any other she has posed him— have you ever been to Ankhural? How fast can you swim? Did you like spinach when you were a kid?

Rey asks things like this, without rhyme nor reason, and then offers her own stories in response to Kylo’s admittedly uninteresting answers. He listens to every word, avidly. Tonight, her eyes are closed, her voice curious but sleep-laden, and her hand curved still, mere millimeters away from his own. He wouldn’t even need to move his arm—he could extend his finger and brush against hers like he did so many months ago, that urgent, paradigm-shifting touch that lead to short moments of fighting side by side.

Now, all he has to show for it is the galaxy.

“Yes,” he answers her.  

A lifetime ago. He has next to no memories stored of it, or of the clumsy fumbling that followed, of the dull pleasantness of feeling Ania’s hands on him. So this is sex, he had thought dispassionately. This lackluster fumbling is what motivates so many to betray and murder and steal.

Overhyped, he had decided. Unnecessary.

It had been one of several disappointing events, things of no import that occurred before he found his path through the dark side. Overall not worth remembering or thinking back to, not even those times when his eyes fall on Ania, who is now among the strongest of his Knights.

Rey’s eyelashes flutter, and—who knows what is in her head.

“I haven’t.”

He didn’t expect otherwise.

His beautiful, indomitable sand rat. Too busy scavenging among ruins of Imperial Era battles and teaching herself to read to have her first kiss. He feels ferociously pleased about it, for no logical reason.

That night, he falls asleep to images of Jakku and sun-baked sands, and half submerged ATATs full of prized, stolen possessions.

 

...

 

It happens because—

It’s not the first time Kylo has seen her cry—nor the second, or the third. He thinks, by now, that she cries like he lashes out—when she’s distressed, when things don’t go her way, when it overwhelms her, all of it.

But this.

This is somehow different. It’s not the hot, messy crying he’s seen during his confrontations with her. It’s quiet, subdued. It’s silent and contained, and yet it radiates through the entire room, and if he still had a heart it would be broken in a million pieces by now, just from watching the way she’s pretending to be asleep, hunched within herself, her eyes shut tight and her knuckles curved white under her cheek.

He will not ask what happened, because he doesn’t—shouldn’t—want to know. However indirectly, he is probably responsible for it.

So he does the only thing he can think of doing—takes off his uniform and folds it meticulously, puts on his sleeping pants, washes his face—and then, when the mattress dips under his weight and gravity has her body angle towards his, then he extends his arm and pulls her into him.

He half-expects Rey to call her saber and kill him on the spot. He fully expects her to tense and shove him away and order him never, ever touch her again.

He definitely does not expect her to slide her arms around his neck and press closer, the wetness of her cheek coming to nestle into the curve of his neck.

Her hair smells like the sun, like the hottest uninhabitable planet in the farthest star system of the Outer Rim, and her skin is golden and soft.

“Ben,” he thinks he hears, but could just be a sigh, muffled at the base of his throat.

That’s how they fall asleep that night, and most nights after that.

 

 

”Thirteen down. Jungle planet close to Raydonia.”

“Akiva”

“Doesn’t fit. The second letter is supposed to be an e.”

“Mmm...Dermos?”

He scoffs. “No jungles on Dermos—”

“Oh, sorry, mister I-got-to-travel-the-whole-galaxy-before-i-was-twelve—”

“—and it’s too long anyway.”

Rey frowns, and two perfectly straight vertical lines appear between her her eyebrows. He is not tempted to touch them.

“It doesn’t make sense. Wait, let me see.” She leans into him, tugging the datapad a little towards herself to peak at the crossword.

“Ah. Of course.”

She plucks the stylus from his hand using the force, bumping his nose with it before making it land on her hand. It’s… undignified, to put it mildly, but Kylo is too surprised to do anything about it.

“What—”

“Eight across. It’s Kivaroa, not—what is even Kiveroa, Ben?” She shakes her head. “Then Akiva fits.”

Her handwriting is abysmal, really. Possibly the worst he’s ever seen with his own two eyes. Every single scribbled letter is painful to watch, a mangled mess that offends his—  

“Perfect!”

Kylo looks away from the crossword puzzle and she’s smiling up at him in that way of hers, and when did the right side of her body get flush with the left side his? He’s not sure how to tell her, so he pointedly looks at the place where their arms are touching. They’re both wearing short-sleeved shirts, so it’s just… skin.

Lots of skin.

Touching.

Rey notices the direction of his gaze. “Oh. Um, sorry,” she tells him, and whether the dusting of crimson on her cheekbones is really there or just his impression, Kylo does not know. “Okay, seven down. Could be Bespin.”

He can’t help but notice that she doesn’t move away.

 

 

Some nights, he dreams of fighting her.

They are odd, disjointed dreams, not unlike the ones he used to have a child, before Snoke and Luke and even the Force arrived. Pockets of time with no past, nor future, nor consequence. His kyber crystal is smooth and without cracks. Her saber was never his grandfather’s, and it glows a blue as deep as the sea of Ahch-to. Her hair flows loose down her back, always, and her skin is golden from the sun. She uses forms she cannot possibly have practiced, ancient arts that Kylo both longs to teach her and fears she will master. She defeats him, sometimes, often, but other times he wins, his body covering hers for long seconds before both their swords deactivate and he can hold his ungloved hand out to her, help her up from the ground.

Each time, she takes it with a smile.

It’s weeks before he finds out that Rey shares these dreams.

“That thing that you did. Last night. Before you leaped.” She is not fully awake, and neither is he. “What form was it, again?”

He blinks the sleep away from his eyes. “Ataru?”

“Ataru.“ She tries the word on her lips. “Can I learn it, too?”

Of course, he wants to say. You can do anythingEverything. There is nothing, nothing that is beyond you.

He just nods.

He doesn’t think much of it—and then, abruptly, he remembers his other dreams of her.

 

 

“You’re training too hard.”

It’s not words Kylo ever thought he’d say to anyone, but Rey is obviously not anyone, and it’s probably time for him to start admitting it to himself, that the sight of her limping around disturbs him more than the destruction of the entire Hosnian system did.

“I’d argue that I’m not training enough, since if we ever meet again in battle you’re probably going to slaughter me if I can’t do three backflips in a row or something equally ridiculous.”

And Kylo is supposed to be the dramatic one. He rolls his eyes and says nothing.

“Plus, Poe said I’m getting better.”

Poe.

“Poe Dameron is a pilot,” he spits. “He knows nothing about hand to hand combat, let alone lightsaber combat.”

“Yeah, well. It’s not as if there are Force ghosts lining up to spar with me. If you want to take a leave of absence from… dictating, or whatever it is that you do, feel free to come train with me yourself.”

She limps some more and rummages with surroundings he can’t quite make out, and then sighs when she doesn’t appear to find whatever she’s looking for.

Tired. She looks tired, her Force feels tired, dimmed from her usual self, and he—he’s not used to it.

“Come here,” Kylo says, and it’s pointless, because he doesn’t wait for Rey to comply and just reaches out for her, tugging on her arm until she falls on his lap before he can think better of it.

It’s different.

It’s different, and he knows, and she knows, which explains the sudden rushing of blood to his ears, and her uncharacteristic stillness. It’s not one of the sleepy hugs they give each other before falling asleep, while telling themselves that it means nothing because in a few minutes they’ll be unconscious, anyway. Here, now—they’re both tired but definitely awake, and she’s in his lap, tense and immobile and just holding his gaze with searching eyes.

“Ben.”

That’s not my name, he doesn’t bother saying. It’s hard to care, with her.

“Where is your injury?”

Rey points at her ankle. “It’s just—I think it’s sprained. Low sprain. I just… need to rest a bit.” She takes a deep breath, and sinks a little into him. After a moment of hesitation, their bodies recognize each other, and start doing what they do best—melt into one another.

Damn the Force. And the balance it seems to be so fond of.

“Did you put bacta on it?”

She shakes her head, and the scent of her hair is as familiar as the smell of his own sweat. How did they get here? Now? “We’re not… It didn’t seem worth it, so…”

Kylo puts his hand on Rey’s waist to hold her in place as he leans forward and opens a drawer, extracting a square package.

“You know, if you have to keep bacta patches in your room, it means you probably train too much, too,” she tells him, leaning the side of her head against his shoulder.

He ignores her and lifts her leg across his thigh, applying the patch and pressing it to her skin with a careful swipe of his thumb. Wondering if it will even have an effect. He has long given up trying to understand the way this bond works.

“It’s acting really quickly,” Rey tells him a few moments later, sounding mildly surprised. “Why is the Order’s bacta better than our bacta?”

He shrugs. “Because we’re sitting on piles of credits and not scavenging for whatever reaches the Outer Rim black market. Or wherever it is that you are holed up.”

“Mmm. Maybe I’m on Coruscant. Or on Kuat. Living my best life.”

“As if. You desert beast.”

She laughs lightly and sinks a little deeper into him. He continues massaging the lower part of her shin, his fingertips digging into her sore muscles.

“Does it still hurt?”

“No. Yes. But only a little.” She bites into her lips. “Your hand feels nice,” she adds quietly. With purpose.

It’s his cue. To stop touching her. To move her from his lap. To go to the ‘fresher and take one of those cold showers that haven’t really worked in weeks, anyway.

He does none of it, his hand continuing to knead her flesh.“You need to rest. For at least two days.”

Rey laughs. “I can’t rest. I have a… job. That people expect me to do.”

He feels a surge of that old anger towards his mother, towards the Rebellion, and realizes with surprise that it’s been—a while, for sure. And that the rage that invariably accompanies every thought of the Resistance is surprisingly… dimmed. He wonders how much of it is due to Rey’s constant presence around him. How odd, that he manages to give her exactly what she wants from him, when those she closely aligns herself with—Luke, Leia, Han—have only succeeded in achieving the very opposite.

“I just… what should I do? How do I get better at this? Stronger with the Force?”

You don’t have to do anything, he wants to tell her. I’ll kill anyone who tries to touch you. If you don’t kill them first.

“Just practice,” he says, settling for pressing his palm into the warmth of her skin. Rey is a warrior. The only warrior Kylo has ever really been afraid of. It makes no sense that her skin is so smooth. “You’re doing it right. But you need to let yourself heal.”

He is not quite massaging her anymore. Except that he is, of course, but his fingers are tracing her skin a little more softly now, exploring it in a way that is not as perfunctory as it should be. The bond hums between them in a way that reminds him of a set of small groundquakes he experienced on Gorse when he was child, accompanying his mother on a diplomatic mission. For hours, even after the planet had stopped shaking, Kylo had felt as if his entire self would be vibrating in time with the ground for the rest of his existence.

“Ben. Thank you. For this.”

This. This is madness, he thinks at her, his throat working against the vise that constricts it. Even for us. Tell me to stop.

Rey doesn’t, though. She angles her head to glance at him from under dark lashes, and then presses her lips together, as if having reached some kind of resolution. When she twines her fingers with his something trembles in the very seat of him, and then re-settles again a little differently, as if misplaced.

I am your mortal enemy. As you are mine. I will not have peace until I have destroyed you.

“You are welcome, Rey,” he hears himself say.

Careful, he thinks for the millionth time. Be very careful.

 

 

“Where have you been?”

Rey sounds upset and maybe even little angry, which takes him aback. People don’t get angry at Kylo, not for years. Not since Luke. Leia and Han were always too busy, Hux mostly sighs in defeat, and Snoke mainly went for his disappointed master routine. Kylo’s knights get annoyed at him, undoubtedly, just like he sometimes wants to fork them with his saber, but when you’ve been through what they have together it’s hard to work oneself up to actual confrontations. They mostly work out any issue during hand-to-hand combat training—and with very mean snide remarks.

He turns to look at Rey, and her forehead is doing that thing again, all scrunched up in displeasure.

“Kuat. And Ord Mantell,” he answers. Though it must have been a rhetorical question, or something similar, because she doesn’t seem to want to do anything with the information and just keeps staring at him. “Feel free to disclose the Rebellion’s location, too,” he adds into the silence.

Rey ignores him.

“You know that doesn’t mean anything. Where physically you fall asleep shouldn’t influence—”

“I didn’t sleep.”

She blinks up at him once, twice, three times.

“For five nights?”

He is too exhausted not to snap at her, so he remains silent and then, when the quiet has stretched for too long and he cannot bear her stare anymore, he turns to take off his armor, piece by piece.

“Is that something you…you people do on the Dark Side? Not sleeping for a couple of weeks? Is that how people end up looking like Snoke or Vader—”

“I meditated,” her cuts her off, a little irritated because he knows for a fact that Snoke never, never slept.

“I’m pretty sure it’s not the same thing—”

“I’m pretty sure I don’t give a fuck.”

Too harsh. His tone was too harsh, and now she’s looking at him—not like she used to before all of this, with anger and fear and disgust, but like he just… hurt her.

He should tell her the truth. Or he could undo some of his mental shields and allow her to skim his mind, the surface of his thoughts. To read that he just needed away. He still does. A break from this, this…this thing, that he’s losing control over. And she… He’s still not sure that she wouldn’t attempt to kill him, were he to stand in front of her—for real, not in the liminal space that their sleep has become. And he—he wouldn’t be able to fight back. Probably. Not at this point, not against her.

Kylo wipes his hand down his face. He is exhausted.

“I…Sorry, I…”

“You’re a joy to be with when you don’t get enough sleep, Darth Grumpy.”

Suddenly, Rey’s voice is softer, with a hint of something else behind it, something he is not going to try to puzzle out.

Something that almost makes him smile. Oh, but he’s tired.

“As opposed to?”

“Fair point.” She tips her head to him. “I was worried about you. We don’t get much intel about…” She gestures vaguely towards his direction. “For obvious reason. Anyway. I’m glad you’re okay.”

What to say to that, he has no clue.

No need to say anything, thankfully. Because Rey reaches out and takes his hand and gently pulls him into bed. She’s two thirds, maybe even half his size, but somehow she manages to arrange him exactly how she wants him, his head comfortable on her chest and her arms around his shoulders. Kylo lets her. How she can be so angular and yet so soft, is a mystery for the ages.  

“I missed you,” she breathes against his temple.

I know.

“Sleep,” she orders him sweetly, and the last thing he knows is the feeling of her mind brushing against his.

 

 

“Your mother spoke about you, today.”

Kyo continues polishing his lightsaber, focusing on the power insulator. Of their own free will, his fingers still for a fraction of second before resuming their work, and he hopes Rey hasn’t noticed—though in all likelihood she has.

“I imagine that the leader of the Rebellion discusses the leader of the First Order quite often.” He tries to sound as noncommittal as possible.

“Yeah. Yeah, of course. But she talked about you, not the Supreme Leader. Or whatever you go by, these days.”

He doesn’t answer that, and concentrates on cleaning the power cell. He’s standing by a small table next to his bed, giving Rey his side, and he’s suddenly glad that she cannot see his face in full.

“I haven’t told her. That we…” With the corner of his eye he sees Rey wave her hands inchoately, tracing some shape with mysterious meanings. “You know.”

He doesn’t. So he stays silent.

“She said you are a great slicer. That when you were twelve you broke an encryption that over ten of the best Resistance officers weren’t able to. In just a few minutes.” A pause. “That when you left to go to the Jedi temple they had to recruit someone else, and it took them ages to find someone as good as you.”

Kylo really wants Rey to drop this conversation, and for a moment, as she leaves the bed, it looks like she will. But he feels himself tense when she comes to stand next to him, staring in that way she has, that way that means that she wants Kylo to look back at her.

“I’ve been meaning to say… It didn’t go the way you think. With Luke.”

Rey must feel how little Kylo wants be part of this through the bond—or maybe it’s the way he’s still avoiding her eyes, because she rushes to continue.

“He… He was wrong. Of course. But he didn’t mean to hurt you. He didn’t. He said—”

“Don’t.”

The fist that is not holding his saber clenches and then releases.

“I just want you to—”

Don’t.” He takes a deep breath, trying to calm himself. When he continues, he’s pleased to hear that his tone his softer, if marginally. “I don’t care.”

“I—I think that you do care—”

“Then I want it left out of here. Out of this.”

Rey studies him for a moment, and she must read the finality in his words, in his eyes, in the tightness of his shoulders. She nods and steps a little closer. Out of the blue, her hand climbs up and curls around his nape, the calluses of her palm catching pleasantly on the raised skin of his scar on the way.

He must be missing some time after that, because the next thing he knows is that her fingers are leveraging on his shoulders, and he can smell the sweetness of her skin, see the brown and gold in her eyes, and then her lips are pressing against his own, warm and soft and dry.

It lasts less than a few seconds, he thinks. It’s over when she angles her head back a little, just enough that he can look into her eyes again—not enough that when he speaks his mouth isn’t still brushing hers.

“What are you doing?”

It’s as if it he pushed her away. Rey takes a step back and the air around him immediately becomes cold.

"Oh. It was... I've never—but...." She flushes scarlet, and swallows visibly before answering. "A kiss?"

"I know it was a—" He takes a deep breath, trying not to yell at her, to calm himself down. This is…It's not…He can’t— " Why ?"

She cocks her head, confused. "Because… because we…”

Her head is hanging a bit, but she peeks up at him a little and… her cheeks must be burning. Kylo is at loss for what to say to her.

“I—I’m sorry. I think maybe I imagined...”

“Imagined?”

Rey shakes her head. “Things.” A small smile. “It’s okay.”

It’s not. Not okay. She just—she kissed him.

“I know I’m not the most—” She shrugs. Her eyes are suspiciously shiny. “It’s okay. I thought maybe…” He really wishes she were more clear. That she would finish a fucking sentence. “But we’re still... friends, right?”

Friends. Friends.

"Why did you do that?” he asks again.

She studies him quietly for a moment. Shuts her eyes tight and then opens them again, and when she does there is a shade of resolution in her eyes.

"Because I wanted to.” Unlikely. A lie, he would think, but she usually doesn’t go in for those. “I thought maybe you would want it, too.” She pulls in a shaky breath. “I just wanted to make you…” she shrugs, a little helpless, “…feel good.”

It’s the wrong thing to say. And Kylo is apparently still losing time, because by intention or by accident now it’s him leaning into her, his hands closing around her waist, and his mouth crowding hers. He kisses her soft and slow, and then, after a moment, after she presses back against him, hard and slow. It’s as easy as wielding a saber, as natural as commanding the Force, and yet nothing like it at the same time.

It ends, again, when she inches back—she is stronger than he is, with this. Clearly. She is still able to speak, for one.

”So. Was this a good kiss?” she asks him, a mix of worry and curiosity in her voice.

He has no clue what to tell her. He has no clue what a good kiss is. This one, it made his mind blank and his heart race, and he would probably kill to have another similar, but he’s not sure that she would consider that good, and Kylo himself doesn’t put much stock in good, either.

He is also as hard as he’s ever been, but that seems to be a different matter altogether.

Kylo is not a stupid man, not when he doesn’t let his rage blind him, and he’s not sure why he hasn’t been able to admit this to himself, that his life has been nothing but wanting, wanting and searching, wanting and never having, and yet there is nothing that he wanted as much as as having this girl, and letting her have him.

What a relief, to be able to acknowledge it.

“I don’t know.”

She nods, unfazed.

“Okay. I’ve never—you know.” She leans into him, first on her toes to kiss him softly on the underside of his jaw, and then back on her heels, her arms coming to tighten around his waist. “I can work on it.”

Something inside him melts, and he realizes that he’s done for.

He pulls her closer into him.

 

 

She settles more comfortably over his lap, her knees coming to rest on each side of his hips. He can already feel how wet she is, so soon, even through the panties that for some reason she hasn’t taken off during that awkward, maddening strip tease of sorts that happened before she got into bed with him.

She smiles down at him.

“You’ve done this before.”

Maybe.

It feels like he’s never done or felt anything remotely like this. It feels like the way her hands run on his skin is something she inventing right now, a secret no one else in galaxy can be privy to. It feels like no one has touched before the two of them did for the first time, so many months ago in that hut in Ahch-to, and then in Snoke’s room, and then….

Now.

He would not have guessed, that she’d be so comfortable being practically naked on top of him, showing him the smooth expanse of her skin, gently pushing him until his back hits the headboard.

“Some of it. Yes.”

The heel of her hand traces the area below his right cheekbone. The scarred one.

“Why do you look so surprised, then?”

It’s the pleasure, he supposes. It must be. The way it flows to his nerve endings, the way it travels from her mind to his, until the creek that used to connect their minds feels more like a lake encompassing the both of them. Kylo thinks that the Force must be pleased, at last. He’s hard, so hard, feels remarkably naked and raw, and yet—he finds that he doesn’t mind. This is not Snoke’s or Luke’s heavy, invasive mind probing around his own, ransacking his brain in search of the worst bits of him. The way her mind sinks softly inside his is soft and a little more than pleasant—spreading warmth inside him, soothing and electrifying at the same time.

He could come just from this tentative brushing of her mind against his own.

Probably.

Surely.

“Why don’t you ?” He asks. This feels so good. “Why don’t you look surprised?”

Rey leans forward until their chests are aligned. Her breasts—the ones he’s been trying not to notice or pay attention to for… for months, now, with pitifully little success, the ones she just let him touch with these clumsy, too large hands of his—they are pressed against his chest, their softness entirely new to him.

“Because it’s you.”

She spins his world.

Rey, he wants to tell her. Rey. You don’t know. You have no idea.

Except that she knew long before he did. Maybe even in front of Snoke’s throne, their swords rattling at their feet, the floor littered with bodies, she knew and he didn’t.

"I asked you—I begged you. And you said no."

She presses a chaste kiss into his cheek.

“You offered me galaxy,” she whispers in his ear. Her hand is traveling lower, skimming his ribcage and his side. “It’s not what I wanted.”

It’s hard to focus on her words, now that her fingers are getting so close to—

“What do you want, then?”

How can she possibly smile? With all that is happening between—

“You said I needed a teacher.” There is laughter in her voice, but also something else—an undercurrent of tentativeness, a hesitation. As if he could ever tell her no. As if it were in his power to refuse her anything.

“I didn’t—”

Her hand slides between them and closes around him, her fingers cool and too small. All the air in Kylo’s lungs rushes out in a quiet gasp. This feels like— more. More than he can sustain.

“You’ll have to teach me.”

She starts moving up and down, pumping him sweetly, pressing kisses into his throat, his jaw, his parted lips, threading her other hand through the side of his hair, and he feels himself lose every last semblance of control. Her tempo is a mess—too slow when he needs her to be faster, too fast when he is just a hairbreadth from— and yet. He whimpers, and he feels her gentle laugh in his head.

“Good?”

She is exquisite. He should say something. Let her know. Instead, he just lifts his hand to her backside and pushes her into his leg, feeling the damp tissue of her underwear against his thigh. It makes her movements stutter for a moment, and her fingers tighten convulsively, and it’s so good that he has to die. Or at very least, whimper.

“Rey.”

“Shh.” Her eyes flutter closed as she rubs herself against his skin, her voice kind and wondering. “Ben. Ben, I have you.”

He spends on her fingers as his mind reaches out for hers.

 

 

So this is sex.

Kylo is still shaking and dazed from what he knows to be an orgasm, but felt more momentous a life event than that. He would steal, and murder, and betray for this. Without hesitation.

His brain stutters he watches her lick one of her messy fingers in that casual way of hers. She makes a curious face, completely artless, and he feels the wind knocked out of his chest in a whirlwind of yes, and mine, and even fuck.

“More.”

She cocks her head. “More?”

“Lick—Lick the others, too.”

Rey doesn’t quite understand but she complies nevertheless, slowly, holding his gaze, a calm, inquisitive look in her eyes. Then, when she’s done, when her fingers are clean, she runs her tongue over her bottom lip, and Kylo wonders if she has an idea, any idea of what she does to him. He is still hard. He will never be not hard again, not now that this— this —this image is imprinted in his addled, useless brain.

“There is some here, too.” She runs her fingertips through the come that has pooled at the base of his cock. “Do you want me to—”

Yes. “No. Come here.”

Under him, finally, he presses her into the mattress—a mess of teeth, and noses bumping into noses, and tongues shyly stroking and tasting. He has never thought much about bodies beside their use in combat or to wield the force, certainly hasn’t cared about the way they look, but now, with her, he cannot help but think for the first time, PrettyBeautiful.

Perfect, for him to hold and to touch and to fuck.

He skims the valleys and peaks of her chest, and licks the slope of her collarbone. He would feed her. If she were his, with him for real and not from across the galaxy, he would feed her until he cannot count her ribs with his fingertips anymore, until her belly is as round as the sands of Jakku. Until the hollows of her hips cannot make room for his hands anymore.

This is new. For me,” he admits.

“Okay.”

“I will have to work on it.”

Her laugh is a sweet sound from the base of her throat.

“Okay,” she says again, her voice a little breathless.

Her cunt is bare and wet and more puffy than he’d have expected. Ripe, he thinks as he leans into it to smell it. Fruit. She is more wet that someone like Kylo deserves, more than he probably warrants, and he can only hope that the things he really, really wants to do to her also happen to be ones she’ll like.

When he spreads her with his thumb and leans in she doesn’t make any sound, just arches back with a sweet, sharp inhale, her hands fisting in the sheets until her pins them with the Force, quieting her down, trying to contain her.

“You’re very wet,” he says shakily, his lips against hers, thinking that maybe this is it. This is where he dies. Upon her body.

Somewhere above him she nods muzzily, and he takes it as a sign that yes, yes, he can continue.

“Is this—?” He licks her tentatively.

Rey lets out the softest, “Oh,” half surprise and half something else, and he presses harder just as she pushes herself against his mouth.

Which is when he loses his mind, a little bit. Because this— this is … He spreads his hand on her tummy and weighs her down, and then begins sucking and biting and nuzzling, and she becomes swollen and then even wetter and this, this is as hard as Kylo has ever been. He wants to crawl inside her. He settles for slipping his fingers inside, and it still seems too tight and way too much.

No. No, it’s not.

It doesn’t even bother him, that by now she can peek inside his head and see his thoughts and feel how lost he is. He doesn’t even care.

“I want to do this—” his voice is muffled by the flesh of her cunt, “—every night. Every single night.”

Her laughter streams through their bond, reverberates inside his head, and he will not survive this.

He slides one more finger inside her, and curls it until she arches off the bed.

 

 

“Don’t go.”

He wraps tighter around her as he yawns against her nape. He really doesn’t want to go.

“I’ll see you tonight, okay?”

She nods and immediately falls asleep.

 

 

“Take it off.”

“I’m trying to.”

“Here, let me—”

“Ben, that’s not how—”

He kisses her because her tunic is stupid—the entirety of her wardrobe, scavenger’s clothes, nothing but, all those light, neutral colors that remind him of his years as a Padawan —and he doesn’t really want to hear about clasps or bands or how hard he’s making it for the Resistance to get ahold of basic goods such as decent robes. He just wants Rey naked, splayed out in front of him immediately so that he can look at her for a million years and then smell the way Jakku’s sun is still embedded in her skin, and then—

And then, something.

He’s not exactly experienced at this, and she—she isn’t, either, and—

“Take yours off too, though,” she manages between kisses, and then proceeds to pull at his shirt, unbutton his pants, and whether she knows that the back of her fingers brushing against his cock is driving him crazy he has no way to tell, but he—he just —he really might not make it out of this with his dignity intact. The force is buzzing between them, flowing in tidal waves of pleasure that are absolutely maddening. She steps back and looks up and him, cups his face in his hands and just— smiles.

She has no business looking so happy. No one is that happy to be with him, not even himself. He could probably come just from staring at the way she bites her lower lip, so he looks elsewhere—to the bare walls of his quarters, that she probably cannot even see.

“I’ve thought about his all day,” she says, a little breathless.

Kylo can tell. He has, too.

“Actually, for months. I’ve thought about this since—”

“Rey.”

“Ben.” He would choke anyone else who tries to call him by that name. He would murder them, if they did it in the same teasing tone she uses. Rey smiles wider. “What do you want?”

I want to fuck you. Like an animal. But will settle for holding your hand, if it’s all I can have.

“Can we—?”

Yes,” she tells him, and at the same time the words plunge into his mind, Yes, yes, yes, as if there were no scenario in which she can say no to him, nothing she will not consent to. And yet he forces himself to ask.

“Maybe, if you want, we can—”

She rises on tiptoe and says in his ear, “I want.”

 

 

He comes to a full seat inside her with a grunt countered by her sharp exhale—and only after it becomes abundantly clear that the two most powerful Force-sensitives currently alive have no idea how to go about this.

It’s a mess of slightly wrong angles and too much and Rey’s pointy elbow poking his side quite painfully, twice—but then, for no reason other that they’re both there, not thinking too hard about what their bodies are doing, just lost in kissing as deep and slow as possible, then.

Something suddenly works, and it hurts becomes that’s it, and as he slides in Kylo feels as if he’s slotted back into place and that grunt —that, that is pure pleasure.

Rey’s arms close around his neck and he’s half-mad—completely mad—because of her delicious smell and her pretty eyes and her beautiful cunt, but he locks his hands on either side of her head and holds himself up, telling himself to go slow, slow, and keep his thrusts shallow, and she is so small, so small.

The things he wants to do to her, she wouldn’t believe them. He almost doesn’t himself, sometimes.

“Okay?”

She smiles up at him. “Ben. Okay,” she tells him sweetly, just as her thoughts reach him through the bond.

I want to be with you.

You are.

No. No, for real. With you.

I know. It’s hard to focus, with the rhythm, and the pleasure rushing through them like that. She shifts her hips and his angle changes, and he miraculously slides—a little, just a little, but enough—deeper. Me too.

Hard to say what it is that drives him out of his mind—her genuine happiness slowing through the bond as she lets her hand run up and down his back, the pulsating pleasure between her legs, the way her cunt is just—just a little too tight.

He is her slave. Her abject slave.  

Let’s meet halfway, then.

His mind, sloshing full only moments before, empties as he comes deep inside her.

 

 

She doesn’t look smaller, or bigger, or more solid in person.

Rey looks as she did in his bed all these months, except that if she were to fire a blaster at Kylo he would be hit. The knowledge hangs between them, and rationally he knows he should be concerned, that they are technically on two different sides of this useless war, but he’s been in her mind and her body and she’s been in his and—he just can’t bring himself to care.

It’s been over a year since the battle of Crait, and the Force surrounding them thrums in delight at the sudden proximity of Kylo Ren and the last of the Jedi.

“Trust you to choose the Starbase equivalent of Jakku as a meeting place.”

She frowns at him, but he can feel the undercurrent of happiness through their link. “Oh right. Because the middle of a square in Coruscant would have been more appropriate.”

Kylo wonders if ten, twenty, thirty years from now she’ll still make him want to smile like this—and if he’ll still try to fight it.

This place really is like Jakku, in spirit if not in looks. The landing area is deserted, and so is as far as his eyes can reach. And yet it’s in the molecules of this place, in the traces left by unused equipment and old weaponry, that some bloody, now forgotten battle happened around here.

Rey studies him for a few moments and then she walks up to him, a little more shy than he’d expect from her given… everything.

“Here,” she tells him, voice soft and determined, and offers her lightsaber—balances it in her open palm and holds it out for him as if to say, Take it.

His confusion roots him on the spot. “It’s yours.”

“Yeah well.” She shrugs and smiles up at him, gentle, she is so gentle with him now, and he loves the way her dimples deepen. “I have no plans to use it. With you.”

Ah. So it’s I trust you that she’s trying to say.

It breaks his heart a little, that she’d think of offering him an insurance of sorts. I have done terrible things, he wants to tell her. And I would do them again. Every last one. He would do worse. Because this time, it wouldn’t be for some fuzzy, misguided ideal in the name of Vader, or to spite a family he never felt part of, or for a master he ultimately betrayed. This time, it would be for her.

Oh, the things he genuinely thought he wanted, and for how long. He was really just a boy in a mask.

His arm falls to his side to unclasp is saber, and it’s he who’s holding out his weapon now.

“Maybe you should have this.”

She studies it for a moment and then takes it. He feels a jolt of pleasure in seeing the sword he built held in both her hands, something that is at once deeply profound and erotic and religious.

“Okay.” She nods, and secures it to her waist, right next to hers.

He feels peace, and then Rey steps into him, in the circle of his arms, and he feels more of it.

Her “I told Leia,” is matter of fact, if muffled in his tunic.

He’s not surprised. Kylo told his knights, and was met with half-knowing, half-incredulous stares. He didn’t need to, though, neither of them did. There is no chance any Force sensitive person within the galaxy is not feeling the shift happening right now in the fabric of things, the calm chaos created by the two of them coming together—and meaning to stay so. The energy will ripple for a few more moments and then placate, at last settling in the balance it so voraciously desires.  

People will know that it’s the two of them, and where they are. They need to leave soon. And disappear.

“Are you ready?”

Rey doesn’t answer. She only steps back until their bodies are not touching anymore, her fingers trailing down his arm and coming to hold the cuff of his sleeve. Her eyes stay on his hand for moment, and then they lift up to his face, pretty and happy. It doesn’t make any sense, but he’s not about to point it out.

She tugs him lightly until he’s walking beside her, and together they head for his unmarked ship.